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Losing my snowboard…

Losing my snowboard…

First full day of snowboarding beckons to find a veritable blizzard descending over Niederau. Unfortunately, we have to go on a coach to get to Scheffel, an hour away. At 8.45am. And we haven’t even got our boots yet. So we’re a tad groggy.

Eventually get up the lovely cable car to a blizzard at the top of the mountain, and we meet our snowboard instructor Val. She has the patience of a short-fused bomb and most of her ire is concentrated on a poor little boy called Oliver.

We start practising on a teensy weensy slope – the same one that 5 yearolds are learning to ski on – and I soon get the hang of it. Can’t be that tricky, I think…

But then we enter the first proper slope. Which is a proper slope. And we proceed to keep going at high speeds, then falling over on our arse, failling around in the snow, trudging back up the hill and trying again. It is really like being a kid again.

Val leaves us after lunch to allow us to start practising by ourselves. And despite falling over every 5 seconds or so, I start to get cocky. Especially after managing to keep upright, moving and looking as if I know what I’m doing – for about 10 seconds before i fall over and strain my right shoulder trying to break my fall.

Twenty minutes later – after watching H disappear into the mist as if she was born to snowboard – I manage to bruise/sprain/twist my ankle and collapse in agony on the lovely snow. Deciding I’ve had enough, I unbuckle my boots from the board – and then watch helplessly as the snowboard obeys the rules of gravity and lurches to the right before spinning off incredibly fast down the side of the mountain.

At this point, I figure the bottom of the slope can’t be that far and start trudging my way down the mountain, hopefully catching my snowboard en route. 90 minuteslater, after a false alarm over a snowboard sighting sends me back up the hill to find a snowplough machine and me knee-deep in snow, I reach the bottom of the valley. And try to cadge a ski-lift up sans skis or snowboard. Which is apparently against the rules. Still, I manage to bend them enough and get back up to the top, limping away. I look for the snowboard as I cross the valley but no luck.

Find H in the restaurant bar who had almost given up hope of finding me and we limp back down to the car park, and our journey back to the hotel – where the reps announce they’re going to rip us off by charing us again for a day’s coach and ski lift pass at Scheffau, as Niederau still isn’t open. I slip twice in Niederau going to the shops exacerbating my ankle, and then hobble back to the hotel.

It is the Quiz/Bingo night tonight but H and I are far too exhausted, broke – and we’ll probably skip the ski-ing tomorrow. But it’s a happy exhausted as opposed to a chaotic exhausted feeling I’ve had in the last month.


Snow! In! London!

Snow! In! London!


Originally uploaded by bbccouk


I took quite a few photos last night, because given the general ability of snow to avoid me, I was quite fearful it’d all disappear overnight. Not to worry, I woke up today to a glorious winter wonderland of snow everywhere, and in the 60 minutes it took me to walk to work (a mile and a half away) I took lots of pics – which are alas all still stuck on my digital camera.

Still, all this snow finally unleashed my festive spirit and brought out the bouncy bouncy Tigger in me. I’ve been hoping for proper snow for YEARS and now it arrives – in London too! It couldn’t get much better! I’ve got ski boots (from that ill-fated ski-ing trip of 2003), a digital camera, a coat, it’s not too cold and I’m in no rush to get anywhere. It’s going to be great!

I’m probably going to go offline today to take more! pics! of! the! snow! (that is, if the transport chaos that is London allows me) but in the meantime, this is what it looks like at work. And of course, people are already hard at work on Dalek snowmen and lots of other photographs!

My 30th birthday…

My 30th birthday…

Well, I think it’s safe to say that like my personality and life to date, my 30th birthday was a bumbling success with a couple of minor potholes along the way and the odd story to tell. I can even let myself believe it to be funny, if a tad sad and dark.

From panic to exhileration

From panic to exhileration

After a night on the beers, schnapps and giederwine, I am not exactly ready to face the hazard of my first-ever day of ski-ing. Especially when told that I can’t join the ski school because they’re all advanced and I’ve barely started.

So H decides to teach me the basics. Getting on the skis is fine, stepping parallel up the slope is kinda fine, but then we get into the messy business of actually ski-ing and snowploughing, and I pretty much panic like a loon every time that comes up. Especially since every time I feel like I’m gathering speed (above 1 mph it would seem) I instinctively make my feet go parallel – which of course speeds you up. So I fall on my ass, again and again, and generally am in a bit of a state and panic.

After a rather tense drink/lunch, we resolve to pay for a personal tutor to teach me the basics (and H some advanced stuff). And Toni is brilliant. A rock. I keep crashing into him, over and over, but by the end of it I’ve almost managed to pull off a snowplough, and have even made turns. Although this was mostly accidental and at one point almost managed to turn into the pathway exiting the slope and onto the street. As this is one of the most successful things I’ve accomplished this year, then great!

Now I have to tackle the insurance nightmare that is claiming for a lost snowboard. Is a rented snowboard and bindings really worth 280 Euros?

And in another first, H paid for me to have a sports massage, from a German guy with a talking beard who looked a bit like George Lucas. That, combined with a day trapping my right ankle inside a ski boot, has now fixed my bruised ankle problem. Now everywhere aches. But it’s good.

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